Principals who want to make their agency more efficient should take an eight-week holiday and prepare the business for sale.
That was the advice of famous entrepreneur Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, when he spoke at the recent AREC conference.
Mr Ferriss said one of the problems of running a growing business is that it becomes less efficient if the old management structures remain in place.
He realised one day that he had become a bottleneck in his own business because there were no rules to allow staff to make autonomous decisions.
His solution was to let employees make small-value decisions – then, as the system proved itself, to progressively allow them to make higher-value decisions.
“Ultimately, if you ever want to sell your business, it’s critical that you’re not the bottleneck in the entire system,” Mr Ferriss told attendees.
“You want to design your company as if you’re going to sell it, even if you have no intention of selling it. You need processes in place, not just you as the mastermind.”
Mr Ferriss said another step principals can take to make their agency more efficient is to plan an eight-week holiday.
Business owners who take a week's holiday can scrape by without proper systems and then “triage the damage” when they return, according to Mr Ferriss.
However, the business won’t survive an eight-week holiday unless they have procedures in place that allow staff to function autonomously, he added.
“What is the gift here? The gift is not the vacation – that’s a Trojan horse,” Mr Ferriss said.
“The gift is that when you come back, all those systems will persist and you’ll actually have half as much to deal with but with the same results, because you’ve built the machine so that you’re not the hamster in the wheel making it move forward.”
[Related: Stop making excuses, agents told]